Timkat

PETROSSIAN Michel
Ensemble Orchestral
ISMN 979-0-56025-845-4
11’
full score
Artchipel

23

May

2024

29

May

2024

la Maison de la Musique Contemporaine
pour Constance et Gaspard, une lycéenne et un collégien, en souvenir du Grand Prix Lycéen des Compositeurs et afin que leur imaginaire d’enfant demeure

40,00 

I find it both stimulating and meaningful to confront the Ensemble intercontemporain, a group that is emblematic par excellence of the music of our time, with the archetypal world of Ethiopia, which I had the opportunity to visit on four occasions between 2016 and 2019.
Confronting two seemingly antipodal universes, extreme modernity and archetypal archaism, creates a collision, the promise of a cognitive dissonance that arouses my desire as a composer. Above all, it’s a sonic imagination that unfolds with the idea of putting the possibilities of the Ensemble intercontemporain’s soloists at the service of an exterior and interior voyage, whose combinations seem infinite, in the manner of Flaubert who, in Salammbô, restores an entire ancient universe through sound, rather than visually. But this is by no means a simple quest for exoticism, sound illustration or folkloristic effects of any kind.
Rather, it’s a starting point that brings two states of the world into simultaneous presence, in the hope of producing a new meaning, a different sound universe.
In Ethiopia, I visited both major historical cultural sites (Lalibela, Aksum) and remote archaeological sites (such as Yeha, with a 7th-century BC temple dedicated to the lunar god Almouka). On these occasions, I was able to meet several traditional street musicians, or däbtärä, professional singers.
In particular, in January 2019 I was able to experience in Bahar Dar, a town on the shores of Lake Tana, the Timkat ceremony, Ethiopia’s main and universally celebrated festival.
Twenty or so short videos taken during this stay served as the narrative framework for a fresco imbued with the complex sound phenomena observed at the time, and obtained from the superposition of simple but multiple events taking place over a vast area (several dozen kilometers) and over a long period of time (three days). These videos correspond above all to the last day, the climax of the festival, when all the processions, each with its own sound and visual identity, set off from the four corners of the city to converge on the single gathering place – an immense basin filled with water that is poured over all the participants, in a cathartic movement involving scenes of great popular jubilation and trance-like phenomena. There’s a kind of mise en abyme here, as the Timkat festival itself involves the confrontation of relative archaism and modernity – the “modernity” of Christianity, with which the festival is officially associated, and the earlier layers of tribal
celebrations that surface at every step of the festival, with water as the symbol of life. This quest for permanence, and the questioning of identity and meaning through ritual, are at the heart of my approach as a composer.

Description

Additional information

Weight0,760 kg
Dimensions42 × 29,7 × 15 cm
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